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Farewell, Bobby Soldier

Roberto Soldado departs Villarreal—and Spain—for Turkey

So long, Roberto Soldado.
Maria José Segovia

Players come and players go, but some of those make more of an impression than others....and Roberto Soldado was a player who made quite an impression in his short time at Villarreal.

We signed him from Tottenham Hotspur in a deal that depending on who you believe cost between €10m and €14m; Roberto had failed to perform to expectations in London and the deal was widely seen as an opportunity for him to get back to Spain and maybe recover his form.

Did he? Well, statistics would say no. In his first year at Villarreal, he scored five goals in 28 matches, not much of a return, though he did notch 12 assists. He was injured in the 2016 preseason and only played in 10 league matches and one European match (the away leg against Roma), scoring 4 times and assisting on four goals. If you could extrapolate those numbers to an entire season, that might look quite good, but at age 32, evidently Villarreal hadn’t decided to offer him a contract extension, and his deal would have expired this next summer.

What Soldado offered was intensity—too much so sometimes (20 yellow cards over the two years). He was a fighter on the pitch—his name translates as Soldier, after all!—but if he was no longer the goalscoring threat he had been in his Valencia days (82 goals in 141 matches) he turned provider—in fact, his assist total in two years at Villarreal was his highest anywhere.

He was a fan favorite in London even as he struggled, and Villarreal fans liked him too. He was to be out of contract at the end of 2017-18, and evidently an extension wasn’t going to be in the offing. Villarreal agreed he could leave for €5 million, and he has signed for Fenerbahce in Turkey.

We wish him well.